Bill Apter has been covering professional wrestling for years. He started a wrestling newsletter in 1961 while he was in High School. Bill further went on to write for a long list of publications such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Inside Wrestling, The Wrestler, WOW, Total Wrestling, Wrestling Revue, and several others. In 2015, he wrote about some of his experiences in the wrestling business in his book, “Is Wrestling Fixed? I Didn’t Know it was Broken.” Bill can be heard weekly on his podcast The Apter Chat. We had a chance to talk to him about his career, some of his experiences over the years, and some of the wrestlers he has met along the way.
Q: What is it about wrestling that you like so much?
A: Not sure it just grabbed hold of me as a kid and never let go.
Q: What does it mean for you to have been able to cover and share wrestling stories for so many years?
A: The best job in the world — it’s supposed to be a job — but it’s a lifestyle to me.
Q: Back in the day, was there a particular wrestling territory that you liked to cover, and if so why?
A: The New York area — home turf — and Madison Square Garden!
Q: What made you want to write your book “Is Wrestling Fixed? I Didn’t Know it was Broken?”
A: Pressure from people who said that my stories had to be told (specifically Editor of the book Greg Oliver).
Q: In your book, you talk about your parents. What did it mean for you to share some special wrestling moments with your Father? Is there one particular moment that you think stands out for you?
A: That time with my dad was the best and memories that we shared will live forever. When we sat next to each other and photographed the night at MSG when Bruno Sammartino lost the WWWF title to Ivan Koloff. It was a major bonding sports moment for us.
Q: In your book, you mention that Buddy Rogers was one of your favorite wrestlers, why was that, and when you finally got to meet him, did he live up to the image you had of him?
A: The way he presented himself. He looked like a champion wrestler from the moment I saw him. He took care of the way he looked and his cocky style and signature strut lured me into wanting to be him back then (along with wanting to be Antonino Rocca as well).
Q: What do you think Bruno Sammartino meant to professional wrestling and what is the legacy that he left behind?
A: Bruno showed what a true athlete embodied. He exuded class 24/7. His legacy as a great human being and champion will endure through the generations of true wrestling fans.
Q: Of all the NWA World Heavyweight Champions is there one wrestler that stands out for you and if so, why?
A: Jack Brisco (and Dory Funk Jr.) — it’s a tie. Two great ring technicians. I never saw either one have a bad match and when they clashed their matches were magnificent.
Q: What is your opinion on the resurgence that is NWA is making and do you believe that the promotion can make a significant comeback?
A: I am thrilled the NWA is on their way to a resurgence and if social media is used properly I can’t see any reason they won’t become a huge player in the business again. I’d love to see that happen!
Q: What do you think it means for independent wrestlers to be able to put on a show like “All In?” Do you think that we will see more shows like that in the future?
A: “All In” was an incredible concept, event, and fan experience and I’d love to see more of the top-quality matches, talent, and production values they showed much more often.
Q: With all the independent wrestling promotions popping up, do you think there is a possibility of something that resembles a territory system coming back?
A: That’s hard to say. If promoters can get along in harmony that would be a great start.
Q: Of all the wrestlers that you covered over the years, was there someone that you really liked to write about or photograph and if so why?
A: Dusty Rhodes. He was so over the top in personality I totally enjoyed anything we did in the magazines about Dusty. He always cooperated and loved publicity — and that was our favorite type of person when writing stories or photographing someone.
Q: Was there ever a particular moment in wrestling that you couldn’t believe you were witnessing?
A: When Vince McMahon appeared on WTBS — the NWA TV traditional strong-hold to announce it was now a WWF product.
Q: At the present time, what wrestler do you get most excited about watching and why?
A: Rey Mysterio Jr. I have always been a fan of his style of wrestling (beginning with Mil Mascaras).
Q: Talk about your new podcast. What can we expect from it in the near future?
A: It’s still a work in progress. My co-host Josh Shernoff is becoming more controversial in his opinions and we knock heads sometimes but the listeners seem to love it.
You can find Bill’s book, “Is Wrestling Fixed? I Didn’t Know it was Broken,” at Barnes & Nobles and other major bookstores. It is also available as an audiobook. Be sure to check out The Apter Chat every week at www.theapterchat.com